How Long After a Mastectomy Should a Patient Wait Before Breast Reconstruction?
After breast cancer, many women struggle with the idea of losing one or both breasts. Unfortunately, a mastectomy can be necessary to remove all the breast cancer. While removing all of the cancer is most important, it’s normal to worry how life will feel after a mastectomy.
There are two choices for when to undergo breast reconstruction – now or later. Immediate breast reconstruction happens at the same time as a mastectomy. As soon as the breast is removed, a plastic surgeon will reconstruct the breast using an implant or tissue from another part of the body. Immediate reconstruction depends on your cancer treatment and may not be possible if you need to undergo additional radiation or chemotherapy treatments. Also, some patients don’t feel emotionally ready to make decisions regarding their breast reconstruction and delay surgery.
Delayed reconstruction happens weeks to years after a mastectomy. This is recommended if a patient needs to undergo chemotherapy or radiation treatments after a mastectomy that may affect the outcome of the reconstruction.
There are pros and cons to each approach. Some women prefer to undergo one surgery and one recovery period and others want to take their time to consider their options.
Reconstruction, particularly when to have it, can be overwhelming and scary. Surveys of breast cancer patients and their general surgeons found that only 33% of patients had a surgeon who discussed reconstruction and only 24% of surgeons referred more than 75% of their patients to a plastic surgeon. If you, a family member, or a friend has questions regarding breast reconstruction, please do not hesitate to contact a plastic surgeon.
To learn more about breast reconstruction procedures, or to schedule your consultation with Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Moenster, please fill out the form on this page. You can call our Tucson location at 520-207-3100 or our Sierra Vista location at 520-458-1787. We look forward to seeing you soon!